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Is Mark Stimson The Right Man For The Margate Job ?

Mark Stimson was appointed as Margate FC manager in early December 2023 to try and turn Margate's fortunes around from a relegation battle to a mid-table or play-off charge side, but it's been going wrong in the past 3 months. Margate currently sit in the bottom four of the Isthmian League Premier Divison and are level on points with Cheshunt but with a worse goal difference.

So when Stimson was appointed in December as manager, the club said "The last 15 months on the pitch have been frustrating, we have never found the consistency needed to push up the table. The club has transformed in the last 6 years, with the installation of the 3G pitch, fantastic new changing rooms, and let’s not forget the purchase of the freehold to secure our home. So, now with the appointment of an experienced manager, with an impressive CV, we hope our fortunes on the pitch will now change. Of course, Mark needs some time but our supporters should see his arrival as a clear indication of our ambition.”


Margate's stadium, Hartsdown Park, with the installation of the 3G pitch.


Mark Stimson certainly has an impressive CV and experience whilst being a manager. The best highlight of his career so far is that he became the first ever manager to manage an FA trophy-winning team in three successive seasons. Stimson led Gray's Athletic to victory in 2005 and 2006 and then repeated the feat with Stevenage Borough in 2007. He also won it recently, in 2021, with Hornchurch FC, probably one of the greatest FA trophy runs.

He was the Hornchurch FC manager in 2018 and was sacked at the end of last season, due to losing back to back play-off finals, which meant they lost out on promotion to National League South, but he will certainly be in the Hornchurch folklore, due to the trophy win.


Mark Stimson and his Hornchurch FC team celebrating their semi-final win at Notts County to reach the FA Trophy final at Wembley in 2021, which the club went on to win.


Since his departure from Hornchurch FC, he was appointed manager at local rivals Grays Athletic again, who are in the Isthmian League North Division.

Stimson arrived there with ambitions to get promotion and take them a division above, the Isthmian League Premier Division, but he got to the worst start possible by losing the opening few games and was in the bottom two. At the end of November, he hadn't won a game at all, only a few draws and plenty of defeats and his defence was conceding more than 2.5 goals every game, for Grays and so there was one answer, the Sack!

Grays were currently second from bottom in the Isthmian North with five points from 12 games, but have now improved under Darren Manning since Stimson left the role. Grays Athletic statement, when Mark Stimson departed was "Sadly, despite the incredible work Mark and his coaching team have put into the club since rejoining us in the summer, results and performances haven't been at the level anyone expected or wanted."


Mark Stimson in Charge for Grays Athletic in the pre season, but faced the sack months later.


Stimson had a little break after getting the sack and came straight back in management for Margate in December, he was appointed ahead of the Carshalton game at home and got to the worst start possible, a 1-0 defeat. Then, the hard work was grafted and picked up two points against relegation battle sides Kingstonian and Cray, one of them being 2-1 up to then conceding in the 90th minute for the other team to equalise!

After the games of hard-working performances and earning points, they've only been able to get 1 point out of the possible 21 points in 7 games, the point came from relegation side Concord Rangers, which is a major concern. They have faced teams like Bogner Regis Town, and Dulwich Hamlet, who are currently at the top of the form guide, both above league leaders Hornchurch FC, and both chasing for a playoff place in the league with Margate in the other direction due to latest results not in their favour.


The form guide currently after 6 games, Margate are rock bottom with only one point.


The Margate defence lately has been conceding more than 3-4 goals in their last three games. Aswell, Margate is having trouble in front of the goal, only scoring an average of 1-2 goals every game. Margate also hasn't won a game in the last 18 league matches, since Lewes at home at the beginning of November, which is a big worrying concern for Mark Stimson and the team.


Mark Stimson needs to try and turn fortunes around or else him and the team are in big trouble!


After Margate's recent 4-1 defeat to inform Dulwich Hamlet, Mark Stimson said "It’s fitness - that’s all it is, so many times now, I’ve watched teams just run past our players in the second half. We’re bringing in players but the two full-backs, Toby Stevenson and Archie Panyi, haven’t played for six months. We’re picking up players who need probably three or four games to speed up and the hardest thing is to chase, if you can’t get the ball or that man, you’re always chasing.”

Aswell, after Saturday's game, Mark Stimson was asked about having not won a competitive game since April, when he was manager at Hornchurch FC. He said "No, I’ve done more than 1,400 games as a manager, from League 1 down. I’ve never been in this position. Why is it happening? I’ve got to be careful what I say… There are a few things and we’re trying to change them. We will be working, as always, to try and improve the group and get this win that we’re possibly now desperate for."


The League Table, Margate are in the drop zone, level on points with Cheshunt, but have a worse goal difference.


Stimson certainly will have to find the mojo or else Margate will be adrift of their fellow relegation sides and will need to find results to get out of the drop zone.

Next up, They face high-flying 2nd place Chatham Town away from home, who have recently lost 4-1 to rival title and play-off chasers Wingate & Finchley. Chatham will be certainly the favorites due to Margate's current form and the position they are in. Then Tuesday night, Margate travel to a crucial game, relegation rivals Cheshunt, which could be the decider of who's going down!

Will Stimson turn his current managerial and team form around to put up a challenge for survival or will he either face the sack again? And will it be time to say goodbye to Margate's 7-year status in the Isthmian League Premier Divison and face the drop?

We will all find out very soon as there are only 12-15 games left to go in the Division!


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